Protestant examples of a Christian life

Although I’m not at all interested in converting to any Protestant faith, or being anything other than a Catholic, I was thinking today about the many admirable and in some cases, heroic Protestants who I have read about over the years, who truly tried to live their faith and make the world a better place. It seems like many threads about Protestants are negative or quickly turn that way, so let’s make this a positive thread and list Protestants that we can all admire or learn from.

Please note, as Catholics have many admirable and heroic Catholic Saints of their own, this thread is NOT intended as a statement that Protestants are somehow more “Christian” than Catholics, or that Protestantism is “better”, etc. Let’s keep this a positive thread and not have such discussions/ arguments here. I just want to have a thread listing and talking about admirable Protestants who helped their fellow men or lived their faith in a very visible way.

Here are a few to start:

Corrie and Betsie Ten Boom and their family, described in “The Hiding Place”; the two middle-aged sisters and their elderly father risked their lives in order to hide Jewish people in their home and help them escape the Nazis. Eventually, all three of the Ten Booms ended up in a prison camp, and Corrie was the sole survivor.

Eric Liddell, the son of Protestant missionaries in China, who, at the height of his fame as an Olympic gold medalist, gave all of that up to continue his family’s mission work in China as a schoolteacher. He later ended up in a Japanese prison camp during WWII, where he tried to help the others in the camp, especially the teens and children who had no school and nothing to do in the camp.

Pat Boone and his wife, who turned to God at the height of Pat’s fame instead of succumbing to the temptations of the entertainment industry.

Rev. David Wilkerson, whose street ministry was described in “The Cross and the Switchblade”. He got a little “out there” with apocalypse prophecies near the end of his life, but I still think he did some good work at a time when not many ministers cared about working with teenagers or gangs.

If I think of some more I will post again. Feel free to add yours.


Perhaps Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German: [ˈdiːtʁɪç ˈboːnhœfɐ]; 4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German pastor, theologian, spy, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and his book The Cost of Discipleship has become a modern classic.[1]

Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews.[2] He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being accused of being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then executed by hanging on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing.


John Wesley, a founder of Methodism and John Newton, known for the hymn Amazing Grace, were active abolitionists.


Fannie Crosby. Blinded at the age of 8 weeks by a phony doctor. She wrote over 9000 hymns used by all Christian churches, many still favorites of a lot of people.

She accepted her blindness willingly and claimed if there was one request she could have made at birth, it would be to be born blind, for the first face she will ever see that would gladden her heart is that of Jesus when she would step into heaven.


I look up to Dr. William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, and other Protestants for their Christian apologetics! I also like A.W. Towzer and C.S. Lewis.


His theology after the war got interesting, to say the least…

There is also Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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I’ll chirp in, I’ll second Lewis and Tozer, there is also Stott and Packer who are highly respected Protestant writers/speakers.

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I have always loved the writings and speaking of the reverend billy graham.


Billy Graham has probably bought more people to Christ than any other…Protestant or Catholic…as a general observation I believe Protestants are outwardly more open to be seen living their faith… whereas Catholics tend to be more reserved and don’t project that same enthusiasm of their faith as Protestants…that’s not to say there are more devout Protestants than Catholics…it’s just that Protestants seem to project a more Evangelical faith tradition.


On a personal note, as a former Protestant, I got to know an outstanding pastor, but who for whatever reason never made the public eye.

Others were William Wilberforce (had a lot to do with banning slavery in the British Empire), George Muller, a Prussian who became British and founded several orphanages, Lord Shaftesbury who had a lot to do with reforming labour laws and outlawing child labour in England; William and Catherine Booth who founded the Salvation Army; Paul Rader who pioneered the use of radio as an evangelical tool (to be honest I’d never heard of him myself, but someone must have started it …); Joni Eareckson Tada, confined to a wheelchair as a teenager, but who developed an evangelical ministry; James Hudson Taylor founded China Inland Mission; Brother Yun imprisoned for his faith in China; Sadhu Sundar Singh, Indian convert with a strong mission to Tibet; et al.

There’s a lot if you want to go looking for them.


how old is Rader? st maximilian Kolbe started a radio station in poland in the mid 1930s.

From Wikipedia -

Daniel Paul Rader (August 24, 1879 – July 19, 1938) was an influential evangelist in the Chicago area during the early 20th century and was America’s first nationwide radio preacher. He was senior pastor of the renowned Moody Church from 1915 to 1921.

I’m Australian and we don’t figure large in the world Christian scene. But we’ve had a few Protesant “Saints” of our own.

Rev. John Flynn, Presbyterian pastor who founded the Royal Flying Doctor Service; Caronline Chisholm who worked strongly for the sake of women and aboriginals; Fred Nile, conservative Christian politician who worked to uphold moral behaviour; Rev. Ted Noffs who founded the Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross, Sydney (unfortunately he and Fred Nile didn’t always see eye to eye); Arthur Stace, illiterate convert from a very unprepossessing background who wrote the word “Eternity” around Sydney for 37 years (the New Year 2000 Sydney Harbour Bridge fireworks display spelt the word “Eternity” in flames on the bridge).

There are of course many others, nearly all of whom would never have figured on the world stage.

I’ve linked a reference to Arthur Stace as his story is somewhat unusual -

What was interesting was that Stace was illiterate, but somehow when he wrote the word “Eternity”, it came out in a beautiful copper-plate style and almost seemed to loom out at people who saw it. I lifted the following quote from the referenced article.

Some months later, (probably a few years later on Sunday night November 14th 1942 – see text below) in a church in Darlinghurst, he heard the preacher shout, “I wish I could shout eternity through the streets of Sydney. Eternity, eternity, eternity.” Stace was powerfully struck by the words and said he felt a great call from the Lord to write the word Eternity. He had a piece of chalk in his pocket so he bent down and wrote it on the pavement. “The funny thing is I could hardly spell my own name. I had no schooling and couldn’t have spelt ‘Eternity” for a hundred quid. But it came out smoothly in beautiful copperplate script. I couldn’t understand it. I still can’t.”


For the record, here is a Youtube video of the 1999/2000 Sydney Harbour New Year fireworks. To see the word “Eternity” begin to appear, you have to fast forward to 8th to 9th minute.

Since this would have been televised at the time, Arthur’s Stace’s humble but faithful ministry finally went around the world.

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it’s harder for us to find these folks because, unlike our Catholic saints, they don’t have a formal “canonization process” and aren’t on a list somewhere, plus they tend to be all different Protestant faiths so there isn’t one list of “Great Protestants in History”. Which is why I started the list.

If these people don’t write a bestselling book or have a movie made abou them, and aren’t on TV all the time like Billy Graham, people tend to forget. Also, among the group who are “on TV all the time”, some of them have done morally questionable things (especially the various televangelists) and others seemed to be basically good people but with very troubled lives that led them to be less than exemplary (I’m thinking of Johnny Cash and his wife for example), so one has to try and sort that out.

Bonhoeffer also came to my mind immediately. I really benefited from his writings early on in my reversion. Also the writer Katharine Marshall (“Christie”) was very influential when I was a teen. Although I’m less of a fan than many, C.S. Lewis certainly has helped all sorts of people to a deeper faith.


Wow what a great fireworks display.
I wonder if that preacher who Stace heard saying “Eternity” has any idea what impact he had?
If you tried to incorporate something like that into an American display, the ACLU would probably sue you unfortunately.

I’m currently reading a book by Ann Voskamp called “The Broken Way”, which is about living the Christian life and trusting in Jesus when everything is falling apart.

She’s Protestant and a blogger, and well read.

I nearly fell out of my chair when she quoted from St. Ignatius of Loyola!

She also quoted from Teillhard de Chardin (yes, I know he’s controversial, but he’s one of “ours”)


Lottie Moon was a missionary to China in the late 19th and early 20th Century. She led hundreds to faith in Christ, wrote many letters and articles urging people to support missions, and died of malnutrition after giving her salary and food to those who were starving in a war torn China in 1911.

The Southern Baptist annual offering for International missions is named after her. Southern Baptist give around $150 Million dollars a year to the offering that goes 100% to support international missionaries.

Even though she was a Southern Baptist, she is honored with a feast day in the Liturgical Calendar of the Episcopal Church (December 22nd).


i thought of some more this morning: the Protestant heroes of the Rape of Nanking.

John Rabe, the “Good Man of Nanking” who was a Christian and a member of the Nazi Party (although maybe without full knowledge of what they were doing since he had been living as an expat in China for years), tried to use his status to stop the atrocities being committed by the Japanese on the Chinese.

John McGee, an Episcopal priest who saved many people and also documented the atrocities on video that can still be seen on Youtube.

Minnie Vautrin, an American Christian missionary who had been president of a women’s college in Nanking. After the call for Americans to evacuate, she stayed at the college, which she had prepared as a refugee center, and ended up caring for and trying to protect 3000 women and children who sought refuge there. Unfortunately after several years of this, she had a breakdown and had to be accompanied home to the US by a colleague, and she later committed suicide. I’m sure God was merciful to her in view of the circumstances and her unceasing efforts on behalf of the refugees.

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